Paolo Predonzan, gelato master and managing director of I-Scream, has the scoop on staying ahead in the coolest part of the market TO PREPARE FOR the day ahead, I usually go out hiking just after 6am on one of the trails behind Discovery Bay. I find it a great way to keep fit, and it means I'm alert but also relaxed by the time I get to the workshop in Kwun Tong, around 10am. The first thing I do is ask two questions: What are today's orders and what new recipes must I work on? We have a team of five and we manufacture both ice cream and sorbet. This is done with a special machine that has two sections. In one, the mix of ingredients is cooked and pasteurised. The other is used for freezing. The timing and temperatures have to be precise to ensure sterilisation and compliance with Hong Kong law. For ice cream, the 'shock' of reducing the temperature from plus 80 degrees to below zero in just a few seconds is critical. It helps to stabilise the molecules in the mix, and this is the secret to getting a better texture. A batch can be from 1kg to 8kg, and it is stored in the cold room until delivery. Hygiene is extremely important in this business. I insist every day that all equipment is cleaned morning and evening with an antibacterial wash. While production is going on, I catch up with all the administration, invoices and orders. Once that's done, I move from the office to the laboratory. We already make about 160 different flavours, but I am always working on something new. I start by studying the nutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and then build a recipe around the right balance of ingredients. There is a lot of chemistry involved. Getting the perfect texture depends on knowing about sugars - sucrose, glucose and dextrose - and using only the best products. The milk used to create the 'structure' is imported from New Zealand. However, finding other key ingredients like hazelnut paste, cacao powder and mango puree can be difficult, so that has become an important part of my daily job. Working in Hong Kong has given me the chance to experiment with a new range of tastes. For example, I have learnt to use lychees and taro only in season and to incorporate flavours like tamarind and lemongrass. After lunch, I usually spend time at our gelato bar in the Great store in Pacific Place. It was opened about eight months ago and sales have gone very well. Customers can test the flavours. It is always interesting to get direct feedback about what they like and why. We also deliver on a wholesale basis to restaurants, hotels and clubs, which is how the business started two years ago. Chefs understand the importance of quality and flavour. They are always ready to make suggestions. They have helped me build up a good network of suppliers and they have helped me to become more creative. Most evenings, I have to work at home for a couple of hours. It is necessary to keep up with e-mails, and it is also a good time to talk to overseas suppliers and think through expansion plans. These include opening one or two more shops in the next six months, provided I can find suitable locations. I am also in discussions with a local supermarket chain about supplying tubs to selected stores. If everything comes off, we will certainly have to increase production capacity. That will probably mean moving to new premises, as well as a lot more work.